Aspiring differently: Households and the Consumption of Reality television

Lewis, T 2018, 'Aspiring differently: Households and the Consumption of Reality television' in Adrian Athique, Vibodh Parthasarathi, S.V. Srinivas (ed.) The Indian Media Economy, Volume 2: Market Dynamics and Social Transactions, Oxford University Press India, New Delhi, India, pp. 220-239.


Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: Book Chapters

Title Aspiring differently: Households and the Consumption of Reality television
Author(s) Lewis, T
Year 2018
Title of book The Indian Media Economy, Volume 2: Market Dynamics and Social Transactions
Publisher Oxford University Press India
Place of publication New Delhi, India
Editor(s) Adrian Athique, Vibodh Parthasarathi, S.V. Srinivas
Start page 220
End page 239
Subjects Media Studies
Asian Cultural Studies
Summary In recent years Indian TV audiences have been exposed to a growing number of Hindi-language reality shows, including desi-ised versions of global formats such as Bigg Boss (Big Brother) and Kaun Banega Croreptai, the Hindi version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, both hosted by Bollywood stars. The rise of commercial and entertainment media in India has been associated with a growing privatized, consumer culture and 'new' middle class (Fernandes 2006). In a country marked by huge and growing socio-economic divides and where culture, religion and caste continue to strongly shape social identities, however, care needs to be taken with how the term 'middle class' is used (Lakha, 2005; Baviskar and Ray, 2011). Ideals of middle class aspirationalism are complicated by a televisual 'nation' highly divided along regional and linguistic lines. In this paper I draw on research conducted with Indian households on lifestyle and reality TV consumption to examine the ways in which the rise of reality TV in India speaks to questions of social stratification and difference as much as it offers audiences a new 'social ontology of global consumerism' (Mazzarella, 2003: 12). Through discussing the varied 'uses of television' demonstrated by audience members and households from Mumbai to Bangalore I suggest that audience engagements with reality TV evidence a range of different logics of aspirationalism and capacities to aspire (Appadurai 2004).
Copyright notice © Oxford University Press 2018
Keyword(s) Aspirationalism
multiple modernities
consumer culture
consumer citizenship
neoliberalism
capacity to aspire
Indian middle classes
media and modernity
food television
travel television
lifestyle television
ISBN 9780199482641
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